EPA’s 2010 smart growth awards go to innovative urban redevelopment and rural revitalization

Smart growth achievement awards 2010
Clockwise from top left: Smart growth projects in Baltimore, New York City, San Francisco and Maine.

The Environmental Protection Agency’s 2010 National Awards for Smart Growth Achievement were awarded yesterday to five projects from across the country deemed “exceptional approaches to development that respect the environment, foster economic vitality, and enhance quality of life.” The awards were given in five categories.

The Civic Places award went to San Francisco’s Mint Plaza, which turned a derelict alley into a public plaza that reclaims stormwater and provides a flexible gathering place for neighborhood residents. The Rural Smart Growth Award went to the Gateway 1 Corridor Action Plan in midcoast Maine, a collaboration of 20 townships in the state to preserve the environment and economy along the corridor. The Programs, Policies and Regulations award went to Portland, OR, which has used city ordinances to encourage sustainable land use for future population growth. The Smart Growth and Green Building Award went to Miller’s Place in Baltimore, MD, which rehabilitated an abandoned building on a brownfield site to create housing and office spaces for teachers and non-profits. And the award for Overall Excellence went to New York City’s [email protected] program, a multiagency coordination to bring smart growth ideas to all five boroughs.

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Chicago's Regional Planning Gets Boost from HUD Grant

The following is a guest post from SGA coalition partner Center for Neighborhood Techology, and is part of an ongoing series about winners of the 2010 Partnership for Sustainable Communities federal grants. If your organization applied for, considered applying for or was awarded one of these grants, we want to hear about your experience! Tell us about it here.

Chicago’s Metropolitan Agency for Planning recently won a $4.25 million Sustainable Communities Regional Planning grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to begin making the Agency’s ambitious long-range development plans a reality. Chicago’s GO TO 2040 plan aims to create a stronger regional economy for the Chicago area by way of more livable communities, improved government efficiency and better transportation options for residents. The HUD grant award will help communities put those plans in to action.

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Did you apply for a Partnership for Sustainable Communities grant? We want to hear from you!

Did you recently apply for OR receive a grant from the federal Partnership for Sustainable Communities? The Partnership awarded several grants recently including HUD Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grants, USDOT TIGER II Livability Grants, HUD Community Challenge Grants, EPA Area-wide Brownfield Planning Grants, and EPA Smart Growth Technical Assistance Grants.

If you or your organization applied for or received one of these grants, we want to hear from you! Smart Growth America is building a dynamic hub packed with opportunities to ask questions, trade ideas, learn best practices, and share your projects with others around the country. We are here to help you translate federal opportunities into vibrant, sustainable communities.

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New Report Offers Lessons and Insights for Vacant Property Revitalization

Restoring Properties, Rebuilding CommunitiesIn the wake of a major housing crisis and rising foreclosure rates, American cities and towns are experiencing a glut of vacant properties. Once a sign of urban blight, empty lots and abandoned buildings now mark the landscape of neighborhoods in rural and suburban areas as well, negatively impacting housing values, tax revenues, crime rates, and more. The sheer scale of the issue has helped bring national attention to the challenges these properties present, and the need for new solutions to blight and disinvestment.

On Friday, the Center for Community Progress released Restoring Properties, Rebuilding Communities: Transforming Vacant Properties in Today’s America. The report, completed with writing and research help from Smart Growth America, offers a systemic look at the legacy of vacant properties in many of our older towns and cities, as well as new vacancy trends, and some of the innovative initiatives that have been implemented to address these trends.

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Metro Boston wins $4 million for Sustainable Regional Planning

Metro Area Planning Council.

The following is a guest post from the Metropolitan Area Planning Council, a member of the Smart Growth America coalition. Congratulations to the Council for Metro Boston’s recent award of a HUD Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grant!

Smart Growth in greater Boston, Mass. scored a major victory recently with the region’s receipt of a $4 million Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). This grant will support the implementation of MetroFuture, the region’s blueprint plan for sustainable and equitable long-term growth. MetroFuture was developed with the participation of over 5,000 “plan-builders,” including individuals, academic institutions, business organizations, community based organizations, and others.

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Reclaiming Vacant Properties Conference Champions Economic and Environmental Revitalization

Vacant Properties Conference 2010

Investing in and reusing vacant properties can catalyze long-term, sustainable revitalization in a community. Focusing on the multiple benefits these projects bring to neighborhoods and local economies, the Center for Community Progress’ Reclaiming Vacant Properties conference kicked off this week in Cleveland, Ohio. The annual conference brings together a diversity of leaders working on community development issues to make our neighborhoods stronger and healthier.

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Chicago's 30 year plan looks at day-to-day life and regional prosperity

From CMAP's GO TO 2040 report
A page from the introduction to CMAP’s GO TO 2040 report.

Chicago’s Metropolitan Agency for Planning announced today a visionary plan how the city and its surrounding counties should grow and develop over the next 30 years. The GO TO 2040 project is “a comprehensive regional plan seeks to maintain and strengthen our region’s position as one of the nation’s few global economic centers.” After three years of research, the Agency lays out four main themes in its comprehensive new report: livable communities (including housing, water, energy, parks and local food), human capital (including education and the workforce), efficient governance (including tax reforms) and regional mobility (including strategic investment in transportation).

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Richland Co., SC, pursues complete streets vision

Charlotte Complete Streets-Rozzelles Ferry Road, originally uploaded by Complete Streets. A proposed set of road projects in Richland County, South Carolina, would bring bike paths, sidewalks, cross walks and perhaps even transit stops to select highways in the county, a conceptual departure from previous construction plans. This new approach, according to South Carolina’s The State, … Continued

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Sept. 20-24: Try Transit and Save Money in Virginia

Sept. 20-24 is Try Transit Week in Virginia, an annual effort by the state’s Department of Rail and Public Transportation and coalition partners to encourage Virginians to “stop driving alone and try one of the variety of transit options available.” Emphasizing bus, rail, Metro and carpooling, the Try Transit Week website does a great job … Continued

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